Jonjo Shelvey left out of Newcastle United starting XI against Liverpool

Jonjo Shelvey has been left out of Newcastle United's starting XI for his former club Liverpool's visit to St James's Park.

Newcastle take on Jurgen Klopp's side tonight looking to end their home campaign on a high after securing their Premier League status last month.

Second-placed Liverpool, beaten by Barcelona in midweek, need to win to be certain of taking the title race into the final weekend of the season.

Shelvey made his first Premier League start in more than five months in last weekend's 1-1 draw away to Brighton and Hove Albion.

However, the midfielder has made way for Ki Sung-yueng, while captain Jamaal Lascelles returns in place of Federico Fernandez, having recovered from a bout of illness.

Asked about his former club's campaign, Benitez said: "They're having a great season. You could see against Barcelona that they were in control until (Lionel) Messi decided it had to be different.

Jamaal Lascelles. (Pic: Martin Swinney)

Jamaal Lascelles. (Pic: Martin Swinney)

"They're doing great. They're favourites, but, if we do everything right, we have a chance."

Newcastle are 14th in the Premier League table, and Klopp is wary of Benitez's team, beaten 4-0 at Anfield on Boxing Day.

Klopp said: "The boys are completely on the Newcastle game. (Newcastle) are in a very good moment. They've won quite a few games in recent weeks, and are in a comfortable situation. They changed formation after they played us."

A huge surfer from Wor Flags will be unveiled in the Gallowgate End of the stadium before kick-off time.

Jonjo Shelvey. (Pic: Martin Swinney)

Jonjo Shelvey. (Pic: Martin Swinney)

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Dubravka; Manquillo, Schar, Lascelles, Dummett, Ritchie; Perez, Ki, Hayden, Atsu; Rondon. Subs: Darlow, Barreca, Fernandez, Kenedy, Shelvey, Diame, Muto.

LIVERPOOL: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Sturridge, Mane. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Origi, Matip